Brookville Area To Change From School Reach To School Messenger Service, Add Text And Email Alerts

Brookville Area High SchoolBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Brookville Area School District is updating the way it notifies parents and others by the beginning of the school year, with a move from School Reach to School Messenger.

District Director of Technology Matthew Simmons told the Brookville school board July 20 the change will be “a pretty significant change” but will offer more ways for the district to contact people.

“In addition to the phone calls School Reach uses, if we go full bore with this, we will have the option to send information as a text message or email as well. Those who get the information will receive the opportunity to decide how and when they want to receive each type of message,” Simmons said.

Simmons told when the transition takes place, those already registered with the district’s School Reach shouldn’t have to re-register.

“The information going into our new student information system will be pulled nightly into a file that will then update School Messenger automatically. If the contact information is correct in our student information system, it will be correct in that system. Whatever is already in our student information system now is automatically going to get loaded in,” Simmons said.

There will be ways for parents to add additional contact information if they’d like, but all of the details aren’t known yet.

“There’s a portal we can open up, and I have to learn more about it because we just started this, but parents will be able to log in to a portal and add additional phone numbers, email addresses, or ways they want to be contacted. If there is a relative of a child who wants to be contacted, the parent can go in and add that information by adding phone numbers or email addresses and choose how that person gets their messages,” Simmons said.

Eventually the system will be set up to contact a host of individuals who may want to known what is going on at the school district, including road crews, daycare providers, members of the media, and others.

“Right now the primary concern is the parent notification system and making sure it will be doing what it is supposed to do. Once that is the case, I’ll have conversations with School Messenger, because I do have community members like people who work for the borough and the street department, daycare centers, people like that,” Simmons said.

Changes to the student information system and to these notifications are coming at around the same time, but Simmons is up to the task.

“I’ll have School Messenger up and running before school starts,” he said.

Grades To Be Added Soon

Parents and students will have online access to grades, but not at the beginning of the school year.

“We’re not going to open parent and student portals for grades probably until the end of the first quarter. We did it the last time that way to make sure our staff members are using the system properly. If they run into problems, we correct those before somebody logs in and says ‘oh my god why is my kid failing,’ when it’s just an error because they’re still learning how to update it,” Simmons said.

Right now the changes are in the early stages, but Simmons wants the public to be aware of what is coming.

“I’m at the very beginning stages, and it’s going to be important so people can start looking for more information as I get it out,” Simmons said.

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